Updated Sep 17, 2023, 5:01pm EDT

Ukraine’s first lady to speak at Georgetown

Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmissen via REUTERS

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The Scoop

Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska will speak at Georgetown University in Washington this coming Thursday about the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on schools and access to education, Semafor has learned.

Zelenska plans to donate 260 books about Ukraine to Georgetown, according to a representative for the university, and call for the development of a Ukrainian studies program at U.S. universities.

She will give a speech and then sit for a question-and-answer session with former Amb. Melanne Verveer, the director of Georgetown’s Institute for Women, Peace, and Security.

The speech will coincide with a planned visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Washington.

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Know More

Zelenskyy will be in the U.S. to attend the U.N. General Assembly and later visit Washington to meet with President Joe Biden and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.


The trip comes at a critical time for Ukraine, as it presses forward with its counteroffensive against Russia and seeks to keep up U.S. and allied support.

The White House has requested an additional $24 billion in security, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine from Congress. But the Biden administration faces an uphill battle in getting the funding approved, given vocal opposition from some House Republicans.

Zelenska’s remarks at Georgetown will focus on the humanitarian impact of the war, which has destroyed hundreds of schools and kept Ukrainian students out of classrooms.

Thursday’s speech won’t be Zelenska’s first encounter with Georgetown. She was honored at the Institute for Women, Peace, and Security’s annual Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards last winter, appearing virtually at that event.